‘Mum’s the Word’ at OB’s Hostel About Application for Liquor License – But If Granted, Will Only Be for Guests

by on May 17, 2018 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach

It’s basically “mum’s the word” at OB’s hostel on Newport Avenue about their recent application for a liquor license with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  Concerns have been raised in some quarters of the community about yet another alcohol establishment on OB’s main commercial drag.

But even if granted, USA Hostel Ocean Beach only plans to serve its own guests – those travelers who lease out spaces at the hostel. No one from the outside would be allowed into the 2-story iconic building – they have 24/7 staffing at the only front door, I was assured by Julie, the on-site manager, when this reporter dropped by the other day. And their guests cannot bring in other people.

Julie could not tell me anything else about the application or what was planned and referred me to David Proulx. After emailing him, here is his response:

Thank you for your interest in USA Hostel Ocean Beach.  We are excited about the possibility of providing new services for our hostel guests

Until the public notice period (30 days) has expired for the USA Hostels applications to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, we are not providing additional information to the press.  We will be able to provide more information after May 26th.

David Proulx (my emphasis)

The 30-day period Proulx is referring to is explained on the posted application itself; it was posted on April 24 – and so, 30 days is up May 23.

So, we still don’t have many answers – except for the main one. Any alcohol served will be “in-house” only. The doors will not be open to anyone walking by looking for ale or a booze buzz.

But where any bar inside would be is unknown to us, or how often alcohol will be served to hostel guests is unknown. … Stay tuned for any enlightenment.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

nostalgic May 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm

The law does not require “guests” to be overnight guests. The Lafayette hotel has a Swim Club, for example, where all “members” and their “guests” are guests of the hotel. Of course, when the 30-day period expires, the protest period expires also.


Frank Gormlie May 17, 2018 at 4:54 pm

The staff says they strictly control who comes in – and only those who rent beds (have you seen their little alcoves? are allowed inside the building.


Chris May 18, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Not the same situation.


nostalgic May 18, 2018 at 4:30 pm

The hostel and vacation rental units both pay TOT, and if there are multiple units, they are eligible for Type-70 liquor licenses. The State does not make determinations about zoning, but counts on cities to enforce their own zoning. Neither the new vacation rental laws nor the old ones address liquor licenses, and are considered to be eligible for Type-70 licenses.


nostalgic May 17, 2018 at 5:26 pm

Well, if the ABC license contains those restrictions, that will be true. The details of Type-70 licenses are on the ABC Web Site.


Michael May 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm

I’m shocked they are allowed to operate at all. They serve no purpose to the community. They only allow international travelers so you couldn’t stay there if you wanted to.

Why do we want low income international tourists here who now won’t even go support our bars?


Frank Gormlie May 17, 2018 at 7:17 pm

That’s right, we only want rich international tourists who can afford the short term rentals.


Chris May 17, 2018 at 11:25 pm

You can’t be serious. I take it you’ve never stayed in a hostel. Most of the guests there DO go to bars and resturants in and around OB. And just because it’s a hostel does not mean they are low income. Also not all guests are from foriegn countries. Next time you may want to think before you type.


Michael May 18, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I’ve stayed in plenty of Hostels and have met a few of their unruly guests at Sunshine and AZ. I particularly remember the fall down drunks from London and a group of obnoxious Australians.

I don’t think the hostel does anything to serve the community beyond paying very marginal TOT taxes. Furthermore, if someone wants to stay there from Poway to attend comicon or stay at the beach, they’re out of luck. Put a real hotel there open to everyone, including the bar.


nostalgic May 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Put a real hotel there? Real hotels have parking requirements.


Chris May 18, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I’ve met unruly guests along guest and more well behaved guests and plenty of hostels and just the same at high end hotels.

I’ve also met plenty of people over the years hanging out in the bars and restaurants of OB who turned out the be guests at the OB hostel. Most were from Europe but some were from other parts of the U.S.


nostalgic May 17, 2018 at 7:04 pm

Perhaps the ownership has changed. In the 1990s, the old Newport Hotel became a hostel, because it had no parking at all. There was a big ribbon-cutting ceremony with the local city council member cutting the ribbon. Does anybody remember who that was? So the new Target gets no liquor and parking, and the hostel gets no parking and liquor.


Debbie May 17, 2018 at 7:16 pm

If guests want to drink, can’t they just go to the store and buy what they want and make their own drink? Wouldn’t that be the least expensive option? Or they can smoke weed and drink water :-)

If the hostel want to make more money, raise the price to stay there. No need for an alcohol license.


nostalgic May 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Why is this so important? Because vacation rentals have the same rights, for any apartment buildings or courts with 7 units. No zoning required.


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